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MATCH REPORT: Latics Defeated But Plenty Of Positives To Take

26 July 2016

Michael Jacobs’ second half free kick won the game for Wigan Athletic, despite a solid performance from Steve Robinson’s men.

It’s the second game in a row that a free kick has defeated Latics, with Jacobs converting from 25 yards on 77 minutes.

However, it was a strong performance from Robinson’s men, creating chances and looking threatening going forwards, all good signs for the season opener with Millwall around the corner.

It was a very positive first half display with Latics going close on several occasions throughout the 45 minutes.

Lee Erwin and Billy Mckay were linking up well and on five minutes the Leeds United loanee had a shot blocked at the back post after the two combined.

First year professional Kallum Mantack was direct and used his pace to beat his man minutes later but his cross was just headed away by Dan Burn in the Wigan defence.

Latics were knocking the ball around well with Ollie Banks at the centre of the action.

He sprayed a long ball out wide to Mantack who picked out Josh Law on the overlap but his cross was diverted out for a throw in.

On 20 minutes came Latics’ closest chance of the half as Erwin intelligently won a free kick 25 yards from goal.

Law stepped up but rattled the post with Wigan goalkeeper Adam Bogdan already beaten. 

Athletic’s confidence grew throughout the half and Wigan were struggling to really get hold of possession. 

Just after the half hour mark, Mckay and Erwin again linked well down the left. The ball was worked to Jamie Reckord who crosses for Mckay who continued his run into the box. 

Reckord’s cross was inches ahead of the Wigan loanee but Mantack followed up at the back post to force a smart save from Bogdan. 

The Wigan could not deal with the combination work from Erwin and Mckay and the latter won a free kick five minutes before the end of the half but Banks’ effort went inches over.

Mckay struck wide minutes before the end of the half before Wigan almost took the lead in the final minute.

Max Power unleashed a rasping drive from 25 yards which rebounded off the crossbar and Cameron Burgess headed behind to safety.

The visitors had the first chance of the second half as substitute Yanic Wildschut got beyond the defence but Clarke got back just in time to prevent Will Grigg from converting from six yards.

Latics again continued to do well when in possession of the ball with Ryan Flynn taking aim from 30 yards and forcing a smart save from substitute goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Whilst attacking well, Athletic’s defence stood resolutely when needed with Clarke winning tackles, headers and leading by example.

Banks, who went off to a good ovation, was replaced by Lee Croft and he made an instant impact, laying into the path of Reckord to cross but the goalkeeper held well.

Jake Cassidy came on and had two good opportunities to grab the opening goal of the game.

His first chance came from his own making as he used his strength to beat two men and force a good save from Jaaskelainen.

Two minutes later, he was fed the ball on the left but just could not direct his shot on target.

Athletic’s best chance of the second half came 20 minutes from time as Reckord drifted inside, fed Flynn who drove 30 yards forward, played it back into the path of Reckord but his shot was well saved by the Wigan stopper.

On 77 minutes, Wigan took the lead from a Michael Jacobs free kick. His free kick from 25 yards found the bottom corner giving Connor Ripley no chance.

Latics pressed for an equaliser late in the game with Croft forcing a smart stop from Jaaskelainen but it was Wigan that came away with the pre-season win. 

Oldham Athletic: Ripley, Law, Burgess, Clarke, Reckord (Brown 88’), Flynn (Winchester 88’), Banks (Croft 60’), Trialist (Woodland 66’), Mantack (Trialist 46’), Erwin (Cassidy 66’), Mckay (Trialist 46’).

Subs not used: Kettings, Edmundson, Stott.

Wigan Athletic: Bogdan, Power, Gilbey, Morsy, Grigg, Flores, Burn, Buxton, Morgan, Powell, Burke.

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Perkins, Jacobs, Chow, Colclough, Brannigan, Wildschut, Hendry.

Goals: Oldham Athletic 0-1 Wigan Athletic (Jacobs 77’)

Attendance: 954 (130 visiting supporters)

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